Wednesday was our first warm and sunny day since the inspection and the bees took advantage. Luckily so did the Mrs. who interrupted her late afternoon gardening to look at the hives, whereupon she spotted the swarm hanging from a sumac. We hastily sprang into action, suiting up and grabbing some equipment: a ladder, loppers, pruning shears, and a nuc. Then we remembered that we had an empty hive waiting.

Abandoning the nuc we seized a large cardboard box and dropped the cluster (most of it) in. Clapping on the lid we carried it over to Dorcas, opened the hive, and poured in the bees. Covering the opening in the hive roof with a denim cloth, we returned to the sumac where the bees that had taken flight and escaped the box were regrouping. Into the box with most of this lot and over to the hive. Repeat with diminishing returns for several iterations. The bees were enjoying this game much less than we but no one got stung.

Ideally we should have followed the procedure from catching our first swarm and moved Dorcas under the sumac for that first load of bees, and then simply allowed the fanning bees to guide the rest in. But these hives are heavy and while we, sturdy for our age, could have managed, it was far easier to ferry a box at a time to Dorcas in her customary location.

It was a large swarm (we assume from Beatrix) so it is well that Dorcas had eight bars of space ready. Her face became covered with bees, some fanning, which we took to be a good sign. When we tired of ferrying an ever-decreasing number of bees we put all the top bars back in Dorcas but did not reroof her yet, merely placed the denim cloth over it all and weighed it down with some handy scrap lumber.

We popped a few entrance corks, returned to the house to quickly make up two quarts of syrup, and rushed back out to put the jars within the hive’s closet. Then we finally restored the eke and roof and stood back to watch for a bit before tidying up. An hour or so later there were no bees covering the hive but a fanning bee at each entrance hole. A look through the observation window showed a large number within getting down to work.

We are back to three hives.